screenshot of the Virtual Earth System Laboratory tool

Welcome to the Virtual Earth System Laboratory! Here, the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) team hosts simulations related to glaciers, ice sheets, sea level and solid earth.

Our earth science simulations fall into one or more categories, which can be reached via the links below.


Simulations of Glacier Flow and Sensitivity to Climate

Model the evolution of glaciers in Alaska, Patagonia and the Himalayan regions in response to variations in surface temperature, snow precipitation, and other factors related to climate change.

  • Model the evolution of Columbia glacier, Alaska. Based on work carried out by Dr. Gardner and Dr. Larour.


  • Understand the evolution of Haig glacier, Canada over 30 years. Based on work carried out by Dr. Adhikari.


Ice Sheets

Simulations of Ice Sheet Flow and Sensitivity to Climate and Forcings

Model the evolution of ice sheets such as Greenland and Antarctica, and understand the factors that control their evolution and contribution to sea level rise in the coming decades/centuries. This includes basal friction at the ice/bed interface, snow precipitation, temperature, etc.

Sea Level

Simulations of Sea Level Rise and Contribution from the Cryosphere

Model the evolution of sea level over the entire Earth, and understand the contribution of glaciers and polar ice caps to its rise or decline in a changing climate.

  • This model quantifies the impact of Antarctica and Greenland melt on eustatic sea level rise in the US.


  • This model computes local sea level perturbations using GRACE observations of melt in Greenland and Antarctica.


  • Model the observed polar motion and estimated contribution from various factors for a time series.


Solid Earth

Simulations of Processes Undergone by the Earth's Lithosphere and Mantle

Here you will find simulations related to the Earth' interior. This includes models of geothermal heat flux and their impact on the thermal profile of polar ice sheets, models of mantle plumes under the ice, models of Glacio-Isostatic Rebound, and other models related to processes undergone by the earth lithosphere and mantle.

  • Present-day GIA trends (gravity, uplift and geoid). Statistics (expectation and standard deviation) were derived from a Bayesian ensemble of 100,000 models constrained by a global data set of relative sea level and GPS data.